A test is going on in Connecticut.
Jeff Spahr is the vice president of specialty business at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut. He says Anthem has set up a program where you can order prescription refills from an Amazon
Echo or other Alexa apps.
It also applies to a few other health actions.
“Other industries are helping to define the expectations within healthcare,” Spahr said. “If you think about the prevalence of the evolution of the smartphone and mobile
apps, there's just a natural transition that people look towards. They'd like to use digital tools and then only if they need to, will they drop into a live customer service phone call.”
The other actions are 24/7 access to health and dental plan
benefits. Once an employee links up to Alexa questions can be asked about their Anthem plans — health and dental — and can get new ID cards, schedule or reschedule or cancel a callback from Anthem’s member services.
Spahr says this change in business
practices has tons of positives.
“If you were to go back 10 years, the historical mindset was you had medical from one carrier, dental from another carrier, vision from another carrier, and you managed multiple ID cards,” Spahr pointed out. “It
creates a lot of confusion. So there's a lot of advantages to being able to manage that across one product, so that [employees] can go to one place and get their answers.”
Scot Marcotte works for the HR benefit consulting company Buck. His firm
likes the idea as well.
“Ideally, a more direct model to both educate healthcare consumers and help them more efficiently procure necessary healthcare items would have a positive impact on healthcare costs for the consumer and the employer,” Marcotte
said. “While some initial costs may increase to establish these services, better informed healthcare utilization should be a win-win for employers and individuals.”
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